A closeted local politician, a beautiful college student with serious financial problems, a “fixer” with connections, and a mob goon race for treasure in this tense, Dallas-based novel by Lynch (Babylon 5, 2006, etc.).
College student Allison Kerry is working two summer jobs, struggling to save money for law school and help out her hapless brother and his critically ill son. Her ethics and tenacity are admirable—but when grocery bags containing packs of $100 bills fall off the roof of a blue Suburban and onto her beat-up Volkswagen’s hood, she decides to hold on to it rather than report it or find its rightful owner, despite a cryptic note in one of the bags. How did nearly $750,000 end up on the roof of that SUV? This question briskly sets the plot in motion. The SUV, it turns out, belongs to Bill Garrett, an unscrupulous political fixer who’s committed countless crimes. City councilman Billy Clayton misleads him into believing that they’re both being blackmailed by a giant construction company and that they must pay off another council member to ensure a stadium contract and avoid an intimidating mob enforcer named James Garrelli. But Clayton has a deeper secret: the married Texan likes to step out with men at a bar called Booty Scoot. When Garrelli puts a gun to Clayton’s head, makes him say “I’m a hick who likes dick,” and blackmails him with photos, he knows he needs Garrett’s help. Meanwhile, with the help of a stalwart neighbor, Allison attempts to evade and outwit everyone else. Overall, this story is well-paced with some suspenseful moments that sometimes verge on ludicrous; for example, at one point, an African-American council member calculates “reparations” he’s owed to the penny and demands a bribe of $746,841.03. The principal characters are credible throughout, but the story is marred by some cartoonish figures, such as a hit man who can’t hit straight, a backwoods animal caretaker who names animals after his exes so he’ll enjoy killing them, and a wife addicted to buying heirloom china on eBay.
A promising, often entertaining debut soaked through with Texas flavors.